Five years of constitution : Constituent Assembly Chair Nembang says unanimous approval of constitution is consensus from all sides
17 Sept, Kathmandu : Chairman of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Subas Nembang played a crucial role to promulgate the Constitution of Nepal amid huge challenges to create a positive environment and bring dissenting political parties on board.
Through the marathon talks among the political parties from different political movements, ideologies and backgrounds, Nembang remained successful to issue the inclusive constitution through the CA as an achievement of people’s aspiration, struggles and sacrifices.
In the wake of five years of the new constitution’s promulgation, Nembang told RSS that all people from diverse ethnic, lingual and cultural background should remain honest and serious in the issues of national interests. “We have to advance by implementing the constitution. That’s a great opportunity for us,” he said.
Stating that he remembers September 20, 2015 — the day the constitution was promulgated — with pride and respect, he recalled the day as a climax of people’s 70-year-long call for drafting their constitution on their own. “That is the day when all achievements of struggles and movements in Nepal were institutionalized,” then CA Chairman added.
Nembang said that as a result of the united people’s movement, the historical moment for constitution’s promulgation came to fruition. “We finally made the inclusive constitution from the second CA though the first attempt failed. This is really a historical aspect,” Nembang observed.
Despite many differences, the political parties and their leadership worked in the making of the constitution from the CA, he added. “On this historical day, I would like to remember entire country people and thank them.”
Asked on how he takes the present situation of implementation of the constitution promulgated as the achievement of the great sacrifice and the long struggle of the Nepali people, Chairman of the then Constituent Assembly Nembang said, “We issued an historic constitution with the federal democratic republic, secularism and inclusion from the Constituent Assembly. In the constitutional history of Nepal, the people formulated their own constitution for themselves. This was the first time that the people were the source of the constitution and not any ruler. In this sense, the constitution was framed in a different way. There is no other authority beyond the people themselves. Actually, this constitution is a document of understanding and consensus.”
He added that the Constituent Assembly was so much inclusive that all types of forces were present in it from the political point of view.
“For example, in our neighbouring country India, their constituent assembly was kind of dominated by a single political party. However, in our case, there was the effective representation of the political force ruling during the time of the Panchayat system and the political parties that struggled against the autocratic Panchayat system, including the Nepali Congress, the CPN (UML) and others. Nearly 31 political parties, including the CPN Maoist Centre, the force that had waged an armed people’s war, as well as political parties representing various ethnicities, languages and peoples.”
Nembang further said that the constitution was framed through a participatory and consultative process as a document of agreement and consensus by going to the people two times. He described the constitution also as a flexible document and all the political forces were now welcome to contest the elections, win the hearts and votes of the people and come to the parliament to bring political change of their choice.
Explaining about the benefits to the Nepali people after the promulgation of the constitution, he said, “We formulated new Acts and revised some other Acts to make them compatible to the constitution, and gave the people their rights in a historic manner within the three years since the promulgation of the constitution. We have provided so many fundamental rights to the people. This is really appreciable. We held the election to the local level and to the State and Federal Parliaments in the context of implementing the basic spirit of the constitution. We have set up an inclusive system.
Many important works have been carried out in the context of the implementation of the constitution. The people have become empowered. On the basis of this, we have declared that now the people need not wage struggle for political change and the way for political change is paved well through the constitution.”
Asked as to how the remaining grievances related to the constitution could be addressed, leader Nembang said that this is a constitution of agreement and political understanding among several political parties that is made and endorsed by the Constituent Assembly.
He added that despite this, the constitution might not be full and have all things that all sides would want to include. According to him, having dissatisfaction and differences is not surprising. “Talking about India, there were forces there in India’s south who did not accept the constitution for 10 years. It took 10 years for them to come to an agreement. But it is a matter of happiness in our case that all the political parties joined the federal parliament, the state parliament and the local level elections and the related process.”
Nembang argued that the constitution amendment related to securing our border was unanimously passed in a historic manner which means that all the political parties have shown their support to the constitution. He also suggested that any grievances towards the constitution should be put forth in a respectable manner and they should be addressed in consonance with the constitution, and the constitution has given room for this as well.
Responding to a query over the issue of stability, development and prosperity, Nembang said we have made lots of constitutional provisions not to let instability in the country. The provisions including no facility to register no-confidence motion against Prime Minister for two years, to disolve the parliament by Prime Minister and to be candidate from two places in the election, has to present option in course of registering no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.
“We have made provision of five-year term of House of Representatives with an intention to allow government to work for five years. We are aware that periodic election take place under new constitution and the Prime Minister elected from this election runs the government for five year. The Prime Minister presents himself before the people after the period and he/she might be repeated in the post if people want, otherwise, the country gets another Prime Minister”, he said.
Leader Nembang further said that there is no any dispute over appointment and nomination of people in different posts. “I from the post of chairperson of the Constituent Assembly had said that We have promulgated the best constitution. We will implement it. The government and political parties should show skill and capacity to implement it. We have to look after it on the occasion of Constitution Day. We should be aware not to allow weaknesses in days ahead. We should move ahead making good things as the strength”, shared leader Nembang.
He added that criticism have been found made from different angels at different time in course of implementing the constitution and we have to accept it with respect. We have to correct if there are some weaknesses and there is no alternative to move ahead addressing the dissatisfactions seen in course of implementing the constitution.
Responding the query on the question raised on political appointments in constitutional and other bodies including ambassadorial posts, leader Nembang stated that it should be properly understood and realized by the leadership in the government adding that if there were any weaknesses, such weaknesses should be corrected. He further said that such questions were being raised time and again and peoples’ concerns should be heard.
Similarly, on another question on costly election system and in ambiguity in proportional election system, Nembang argued that many things were being corrected in comparison to past. Inclusive agendas were mentioned in constitutional and election laws. The publicity campaign is gradually becoming less extravagant and transparent in composition to past. If anything is yet to be corrected then they should be corrected to strengthen the system.
Answering the question that what kind of message he wants to deliver to people as then speaker regarding the constitution on the constitution day, then speaker Nembang urged all to abide by constitution as it was achieved through a sacrifice of people and huge participation of all sectors. All political parties and forces that fought for change and political rights should be united to safeguard the constitution and political changes assured by it.